Tuesday, March 13, 2007

All hats in the ring

Next year's US Presidential election promises to be a historic event. The race is characterized by several firsts; Hillary Clinton as First Woman candidate and First First Lady to run (Not even Imelda Marcos had the chance to run for president although there were plans for her to assume the post from Ferdie!), Barack Obama as First Black, Rudy Giuliani as First Italian, John McCain as First Over 70 and Mitt Romney as First Mormon.

Twenty years ago such diversity would have been unheard of. Thus even after JFK's tragic presidency, having a non- white or non -Protestant as president would be unlikely, even so a Mormon one. As recently as three years back, an American lady once told me that Americans would rather have an African-American than a woman as president. Now these don't matter. America is more diverse now than before.

According to USA Today, just 1 in 10 wouldn't vote for a woman and 1 in 20 wouldn't vote for a black. Though these results show significant social changes, there is still apprehension in voting for an over 70 (from young people polled: 40%), for gays (42%) and ta dah... atheists ( 48%)! Older women have qualms voting for a woman (although this may have something to do with Hillary being the candidate). Most surprisingly, men have been open to having a woman as prez.

This election will be characterized by open mindedness among Americans. Whether this would translate to a "breakthrough" president being elected remains to be seen. But presidential elections reflect social changes rather than make those changes.

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